When I first came to Orkney for a wedding back in September 1991 little did I suspect that in January 2021 I’d still be here, but that is more or less exactly what happened. As said I arrived in September 91, went home in January 92 but by May 92 the call of the Isles was so strong that I returned and by the August of 92 I’d moved myself here lock, stock and barrel.
Why am I telling you this; well I may not yet be in the age bracket of an expert study just conducted, but it still comes as no surprise to learn that Stornoway and Kirkwall have been rated as the happiest of places to live in the UK if you are aged 65 and over.
The new study conducted by Care home comparison site, Care Sourcer, revealed where people in the UK feel the most and least happy.
They looked at life satisfaction, feelings of worthwhile, and levels of happiness and anxiety, the study used the Office for National Statistics (ONS) wellbeing dataset to reveal which areas are the happiest places to be for the UK’s over-65s.
Older generations have had to live under the most strict coronavirus measures for almost a year now, with one in three over-65s reporting feeling lonelier than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the current lockdown bringing back the measures seen at the beginning of the pandemic, which places in the UK have stuck together and maintained a sense of community throughout it all?
The index showed that over-65s living in Scotland are the happiest people in the UK. The tight-knit communities of Stornoway and Kirkwall top the list as the happiest places, both scoring 8.0 on the happiness index. Residents living in these Outer Hebrides and Orkney locations benefit from a supportive community and beautiful surroundings, including beaches on their doorstep. It comes as no surprise that Orkney (Kirkwall) is also voted one of Scotlands most desirable places to live overall.
Bournemouth came in third on the list which led Care Sourcer to believe that there is definitely something in the sea air. Windsor in the South and Blackburn in the North came in fouth and fifth.
|Happiness Rank (Most)||Region||Place||Happiness Index Score|
|7||East of England||Luton||7.6|
By contrast the least happy places to live are shown in the table below
|Happiness Rank (least)||Region||Place||Happiness Index Score|
|2||East of England||Nottingham||7.1|
|6||Yorkshire and the Humber||Hull||7.1|
|7||Yorkshire and the Humber||Doncaster||7.2|
The study showed that the large industrialised market town of Dudley is the least happy place in the UK with a happiness index score of 7.0, with Nottingham and Dundee coming second and third scoring 7.1.
Despite being named the UK’s Capital of Culture in 2017, the Yorkshire city of Hull comes in at number six on this list with a happiness index score of 7.1. This is followed closely by another Yorkshire town, Doncaster, scoring 7.2.
January can often feel long and dreary and during these times of coronavirus isolation and loneliness can set in. Andrew Parfery, CEO and Founder of Care Sourcer, set out some ways in which this can be combated.
“Individuals in these communities can also help. Wherever you live in the UK, there are lonely older people in your area, town and probably on your street. It’s up to all of us to step up and think creatively about how we can reach out to them in a safe way.
“If you are unable to see your loved ones in person, technology is your friend. Pick up the phone or FaceTime older friends and family – there is no time limit on this and it is a wonderful way to see multiple people at once.
“You don’t have to use tech though. There are lots of pen pal schemes in place across the country. Pen pal schemes became very popular during the first lockdown with school children writing to the elderly in their area. If you are interested, you can visit your local care home’s website to see what schemes they have in place. There are also opportunities to become a telephone friend to an older person. You may get a lot out of it too!”
We are blessed here in Orkney with all our open spaces and I for one can’t get enough of them. As always; Stay Safe.
Reporter Helen Armet